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Microbial structure and nitrogen compound conversions in aerobic granular sludge reactors with non-aeration phases and acetate pulse feeding

Cydzik-Kwiatkowska, Agnieszka, Rusanowska, Paulina, Zielińska, Magdalena, Bernat, Katarzyna, Wojnowska-Baryła, Irena
Environmental science and pollution research international 2016 v.23 no.24 pp. 24857-24870
Alcaligenes faecalis, Azoarcus, Pseudomonas, Rhizobium, Thauera, acetates, aeration, ammonia, bacteria, biomass, chemical oxygen demand, denitrification, denitrifying microorganisms, diameter, genes, granules, nitrates, nitrification, nitrogen, oxidation, sludge, wastewater treatment
A technological system was developed for efficient nitrogen removal from real digester supernatant in a single reactor with shortened aeration to increase the economical aspects of wastewater treatment. The supernatant (600 mg TKN/L, low COD/N ratio of 2.2) was treated in batch reactors with aerobic granules (GSBRs) to test how one, two, or three non-aeration phases and acetate pulse feeding in the cycle affect the morphological and microbial properties of biomass. Introduction of one non-aeration phase in the cycle increased nitrogen removal efficiency by 11 % in comparison with constantly aerated GSBR. The additional non-aeration phases did not diminish the efficiency of ammonia oxidation but did favor nitrification to nitrate. Acetate pulse feeding in the reactor with three non-aeration phases raised the efficiency of nitrogen removal to 77 %; in parallel, the number of denitrifiers possessing nosZ genes and performing denitrification to N₂ increased. Ammonia was oxidized by aerobic and anaerobic ammonia-oxidizing bacteria and heterotrophic nitrifiers (Pseudomonas sp. and Alcaligenes faecalis) that coexisted in granules. Azoarcus sp., Rhizobium sp., and Thauera sp. were core genera of denitrifiers in granules. An increase in the number of non-aeration phases diminished EPS content in the biomass and granule diameters and increased granule density.